Reflections on the D-Day Commemoration: There is Hope

The National D-Day Memorial and the town of Bedford should be proud of their commemoration of the 70th anniversary of D-Day. The moving words of D-Day participants, read during the official commemoration on Friday; the presence of many D-Day veterans; the sounds of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra; the showing of Casablanca; the town itself, its center largely unchanged these 70 years, evoked a moving sense of the past.  This weekend, stirred more than a respect for the past, however; it gave me hope for the future.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was thrilled to see a wide range of ages at Friday’s commemoration. Many high school and college students were there, some with grandparents (or great-grandparents), some as spectators, some as reenactors. This last group gave me pause because it occurred to me that they were the most accurate reenactors I’ve ever seen for one very poignant reason: They are the same age now as the boys who saved the world 70 years ago. That ones so young spent their weekend saluting those who had gone before gives me hope.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA little girl in a star-spangled dress, waving an American flag as the parade passed; that gives me hope.

A man with a homemade sign detailing his father’s unit and concluding with the simple words, “Thanks, Dad” gives me hope.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

A couple of gentlemen who stepped out of the crowd at the parade to carry forward a bench so that two veterans and their wives could sit down, gives me hope.

Jack Booth gives me hope. Jack spoke before the showing of Casablanca because his son, Joshua is featured in the documentary, Bedford: The Town They Left Behind, the trailer for which was shown before the movie. Joshua loved Bedford, his grandfather’s home and, inspired by the tales of the Bedford Boys, he enrolled in The Citadel in 2001 in order to pursue a career in the military. He graduated a 1st Lieutenant in the Marine Corps, and was deployed to Iraq in 2005. In 2006, he was killed by a sniper. He had told his father that he didn’t think that he would be coming home and he had two requests: “Make sure my children know who I was,” he told his dad, adding that he was to be buried in Bedford. Joshua’s mother, not knowing of this request, wanted her son to be buried in Arlington. She burst into tears when told of Joshua’s wish because “No one in Bedford knows him.” When his flag-draped casket rolled through town to its final stop in Longwood Cemetery, however, hundreds of townspeople lined the streets. Many carried flags. Joshua might not have been one of the Bedford Boys, but he was recognized as a Bedford Boy. I suspect that there are plenty of Bedford Boys out there yet. Jack reminded us all that America is exceptional and his son and all those strangers who saluted his passing prove it.

Yes, this commemoration of D-Day was about the past, but it has given me hope for the future.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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About Austin Gisriel

You know the guy that records a baseball game from the West Coast in July and doesn't watch it until January just to see baseball in the winter? That's me. I'm a writer always in search of a good story, baseball or otherwise.
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4 Responses to Reflections on the D-Day Commemoration: There is Hope

  1. al smith says:

    Thank you Austin for sharing this experience with us.

    Like

  2. Charles and Karen Harris says:

    Since we had visited in May we were right there with you in your descriptions. Charles and Karen

    Like

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